Kerala Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress party on Monday (19 November), slammed the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the police excesses against Lord Ayyappa devotees at Sannidhanam, reports The Indian Express.
"Innocent devotees are being arrested, who sought shelter at Valiya Nadappandhal (covered pathway). All are not Sangh Parivar activists, is Kerala under the rule of Hitler?" Chennithala asked.
"Arresting real devotees, who climb the hills to offer prayers, can not be accepted," he added.
"This is not Soviet Russia under Stalin, this is a democratic country. Thousands of police officers are deployed here as if in a bid to instil fear and panic, why? Law and order is the responsibility of the state govt," Union Minister K J Alphons said.
Earlier on Saturday (17 November) night, Kerala police had arrested at least 72 devotees when they decided to stay and protest peacefully after the temple gates were closed. They were carrying out ‘namajapa’ protest outside the Sannidhanam.
P S Sreedharan Pillai, the BJP State Unit President has condemned the wide spread arrests of devotees as 'cruel' and demanded a judicial probe into police excesses. The pilgrims were peacefully protesting at 'Sannidhanam' against the lack of facilities and stringent restrictions imposed by the police at the temple complex, he said.
Today, the Kerala High Court also slammed the Communist government and the police for harassing innocent devotees. In the past too, the court had slammed the communist government for police excesses demanding a report. The administration had arrested more than 3000 people while putting up bail amounts as high as Rs 13 lakh for the arrested devotees.
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